#3 - Six phrases you should never use with homeless patrons
Here are six phrases you should never use with a homeless (or any other) patron:
- “Calm down!” - When my brother and I were kids, I would frequently tell my brother to “calm down.” He always become enraged, which was the main reason I said it. Now that we are adults, it still has the same effect.
- “… or else!” - When someone can’t think of a punishment quickly enough they sometimes say, “Don’t do that or else!” It is a very weak and ambiguous threat. It escalates tension with the other person while making you look feeble at the same time.
- “Come here!” - Who do you say that to? A dog. Who doesn’t like being talked to like a dog? A human. Don’t ever talk to a person—homeless or otherwise—like they are a dog. It will not make them more disposed to do what you want.
- “You can’t do that!” - Don't tell a person what they have to do or they may go out of their way to prove you wrong.
- “Why would you do that?” - Who do you say this to? A child. Who doesn’t like being talked to like a child? An adult. Don’t ever talk to an adult—homeless or otherwise—like they are a child. It will not endear you to them.
- “What is the matter with you?” - There is only one time when it is appropriate to ask this question: when your toddler is finger-painting on the dog with the brown paint he found in his diaper. Never talk to an adult—homeless or otherwise—like they are a feces-wielding baby Picasso. Seriously, though, this question is really unhelpful even when someone is doing something truly bizarre. Don’t say it.